Prada to present “In the Heart of the Multitude”,
featuring the work of four muralists and two illustrators
on the walls of the S/S14 Women's fashion show
On September 19, 2013, Prada will present In the Heart of the Multitude, a new project in their long tradition of creative collaborations. As part of the environment for the Spring/Summer 2014 Women's fashion show, Prada invited muralists Miles “El Mac” Gregor, Mesa, Gabriel Specter, and Stinkfish, and illustrators Jeanne Detallante and Pierre Mornet, to engage themes of femininity, representation, power, and multiplicity on the walls of the Via Fogazzaro show space in Milan.
The concept originated from an interest in the political wall art from Mexican muralists such as Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros and José Clemente Orozco combined with on-going exploration into large-scale wall installations at the Prada Broadway epicenter and other sites worldwide. In conjunction with 2x4, the New York-based design firm and long-time creative collaborator, Prada conducted a global research and commissioned these six young artists and illustrators, known for their distinctive style, color sensibility and approach to figurative representation, to work directly in the show space. The walls were reshaped to maximize the structural variation and provide multiple planes on which the artists could realize their visions.
The overall spatial concept, designed by Prada creative partner AMO as an inversion of the traditional fashion show configuration, features a stylized perimeter street that encircles an irregularly shaped central island. Rather than looking in to a central catwalk, the audience is seated on the island looking out toward the murals that adorn the outer walls. The streetscape is populated by models weaving under and in front of large blocks, some even looming overhead. The jutting, almost expressionistic, walls radically alter the sense of scale in the room. The catwalk is surfaced in industrial rubber as a reference to the urban street and the murals, with their dramatic scale and vibrant color, lend an exuberant panache to the severity of the surrounding walls.
The muralists set to work in the Milan show space in a cloud of aerosol, paint and turpentine. The overall space took shape slowly as each one claimed a wall space and got to work. The grey undercoating was replaced by fantastically rendered and colored portraits as they each interpreted the broad themes in their own manner. As the work was gradually realized, the dynamic juxtaposition of style and technique was revealed.
“The fascinating aspect of this project was not only identifying and working with each individual,” says 2x4 founder Michael Rock, “but imagining the work of all six together in conversation. In many ways this project contradicts the prevailing cultural condition where everyone is somewhere else, connecting through social media, emailing files, and talking by Skype. By insisting on real paintings instead of digital reproductions, Miuccia Prada is fostering the creative energy that can only happen when everyone is physically working together in one space. It’s a fundamentally different experience.”
“It’s exciting to be here in Milan, painting with these other artists. There’s a lot of talent here.” notes the Los Angeles-based artist Miles Gregor who is known by his street name: El Mac. “And obviously in Milan you’re surrounded by a strong history of design, fashion, art and culture, so it’s inspiring to be influenced by that energy.”